Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) condemns the sanction against Nigeria Info 99.3FM by Nigerian authority.
The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Thursday August 13 issued out a fine of #5,000,000 ($10, 800) to private broadcaster, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos Nigeria, over comments made by a former Deputy Governor of the central bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia on its program “Morning Cross Fire”.
The program which aired on August 10 discussed security challenges which have ravaged Southern Kaduna, an ethnic group in Kaduna State, North West Nigeria.
The NBC in a statement published August 13 faulted the broadcaster for providing the platform for the guest to “promote unverifiable and inciting views”. “The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in handling of programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am. The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder” reads the statement.
However, members of the NBC board led by its chairman, Ikra Aliyu Bilbis told journalists at a press conference held on August 14th in Abuja, the nation’s capital, that the Minister of information, Lai Mohammed unanimously carried out an amendment to the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting code which is contrary to the provisions of the Act establishing the NBC.
The chairman said the NBC distance itself from the irregularities with the amended 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting code and said the version does not meet any known criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders.
“The board of the NBC wishes to make it quite clear that as long as it is in place, the only NB Code that we recognize and which we shall work with in the setting of operating policies and standards for the NBC is the 6th edition of the NB code which was launched in 2019 in Kano. Any other purported review has no board endorsement and therefore cannot be utilized in regulating broadcasting in Nigeria”.
Sources confirmed to AMDF that the version of the 6th edition used to sanction the broadcaster (Nigeria Info 99.3FM) is the new version which was launched on 4th August 2020, in Lagos, South West Nigeria.
AMDF confirmed that there are now two versions of the 6th edition of the NB code, the first one was launched in Kano, this edition is still in use by most states in the country, while the second one (amended) was recently launched in August 2020; amending some sections and jerking up fine from ₦500,000 ($1, 800) to ₦5, 000 000 ($10, 800) and further breaking exclusivity monopoly.
AMDF condemns the sanction against the private broadcaster in the first place as the programme in question was a live making it impossible for the broadcaster to edit the alleged breach content.
Consequently, we are calling on the National Broadcasting Commission to reverse the sanction issued against the private broadcaster as the amended code is not recognized by the NBC board neither by the Act establishing the broadcasting code.